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- Crime and Punishment - 30/113 -


of doubt."

"That's nonsense. You are excited. But what about the ear-rings? You must admit that, if on the very same day and hour ear-rings from the old woman's box have come into Nikolay's hands, they must have come there somehow. That's a good deal in such a case."

"How did they get there? How did they get there?" cried Razumihin. "How can you, a doctor, whose duty it is to study man and who has more opportunity than anyone else for studying human nature--how can you fail to see the character of the man in the whole story? Don't you see at once that the answers he has given in the examination are the holy truth? They came into his hand precisely as he has told us--he stepped on the box and picked it up."

"The holy truth! But didn't he own himself that he told a lie at first?"

"Listen to me, listen attentively. The porter and Koch and Pestryakov and the other porter and the wife of the first porter and the woman who was sitting in the porter's lodge and the man Kryukov, who had just got out of a cab at that minute and went in at the entry with a lady on his arm, that is eight or ten witnesses, agree that Nikolay had Dmitri on the ground, was lying on him beating him, while Dmitri hung on to his hair, beating him, too. They lay right across the way, blocking the thoroughfare. They were sworn at on all sides while they 'like children' (the very words of the witnesses) were falling over one another, squealing, fighting and laughing with the funniest faces, and, chasing one another like children, they ran into the street. Now take careful note. The bodies upstairs were warm, you understand, warm when they found them! If they, or Nikolay alone, had murdered them and broken open the boxes, or simply taken part in the robbery, allow me to ask you one question: do their state of mind, their squeals and giggles and childish scuffling at the gate fit in with axes, bloodshed, fiendish cunning, robbery? They'd just killed them, not five or ten minutes before, for the bodies were still warm, and at once, leaving the flat open, knowing that people would go there at once, flinging away their booty, they rolled about like children, laughing and attracting general attention. And there are a dozen witnesses to swear to that!"

"Of course it is strange! It's impossible, indeed, but . . ."

"No, brother, no /buts/. And if the ear-rings being found in Nikolay's hands at the very day and hour of the murder constitutes an important piece of circumstantial evidence against him--although the explanation given by him accounts for it, and therefore it does not tell seriously against him--one must take into consideration the facts which prove him innocent, especially as they are facts that /cannot be denied/. And do you suppose, from the character of our legal system, that they will accept, or that they are in a position to accept, this fact-- resting simply on a psychological impossibility--as irrefutable and conclusively breaking down the circumstantial evidence for the prosecution? No, they won't accept it, they certainly won't, because they found the jewel-case and the man tried to hang himself, 'which he could not have done if he hadn't felt guilty.' That's the point, that's what excites me, you must understand!"

"Oh, I see you are excited! Wait a bit. I forgot to ask you; what proof is there that the box came from the old woman?"

"That's been proved," said Razumihin with apparent reluctance, frowning. "Koch recognised the jewel-case and gave the name of the owner, who proved conclusively that it was his."

"That's bad. Now another point. Did anyone see Nikolay at the time that Koch and Pestryakov were going upstairs at first, and is there no evidence about that?"

"Nobody did see him," Razumihin answered with vexation. "That's the worst of it. Even Koch and Pestryakov did not notice them on their way upstairs, though, indeed, their evidence could not have been worth much. They said they saw the flat was open, and that there must be work going on in it, but they took no special notice and could not remember whether there actually were men at work in it."

"Hm! . . . So the only evidence for the defence is that they were beating one another and laughing. That constitutes a strong presumption, but . . . How do you explain the facts yourself?"

"How do I explain them? What is there to explain? It's clear. At any rate, the direction in which explanation is to be sought is clear, and the jewel-case points to it. The real murderer dropped those ear- rings. The murderer was upstairs, locked in, when Koch and Pestryakov knocked at the door. Koch, like an ass, did not stay at the door; so the murderer popped out and ran down, too; for he had no other way of escape. He hid from Koch, Pestryakov and the porter in the flat when Nikolay and Dmitri had just run out of it. He stopped there while the porter and others were going upstairs, waited till they were out of hearing, and then went calmly downstairs at the very minute when Dmitri and Nikolay ran out into the street and there was no one in the entry; possibly he was seen, but not noticed. There are lots of people going in and out. He must have dropped the ear-rings out of his pocket when he stood behind the door, and did not notice he dropped them, because he had other things to think of. The jewel-case is a conclusive proof that he did stand there. . . . That's how I explain it."

"Too clever! No, my boy, you're too clever. That beats everything."

"But, why, why?"

"Why, because everything fits too well . . . it's too melodramatic."

"A-ach!" Razumihin was exclaiming, but at that moment the door opened and a personage came in who was a stranger to all present.

CHAPTER V

This was a gentleman no longer young, of a stiff and portly appearance, and a cautious and sour countenance. He began by stopping short in the doorway, staring about him with offensive and undisguised astonishment, as though asking himself what sort of place he had come to. Mistrustfully and with an affectation of being alarmed and almost affronted, he scanned Raskolnikov's low and narrow "cabin." With the same amazement he stared at Raskolnikov, who lay undressed, dishevelled, unwashed, on his miserable dirty sofa, looking fixedly at him. Then with the same deliberation he scrutinised the uncouth, unkempt figure and unshaven face of Razumihin, who looked him boldly and inquiringly in the face without rising from his seat. A constrained silence lasted for a couple of minutes, and then, as might be expected, some scene-shifting took place. Reflecting, probably from certain fairly unmistakable signs, that he would get nothing in this "cabin" by attempting to overawe them, the gentleman softened somewhat, and civilly, though with some severity, emphasising every syllable of his question, addressed Zossimov:

"Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov, a student, or formerly a student?"

Zossimov made a slight movement, and would have answered, had not Razumihin anticipated him.

"Here he is lying on the sofa! What do you want?"

This familiar "what do you want" seemed to cut the ground from the feet of the pompous gentleman. He was turning to Razumihin, but checked himself in time and turned to Zossimov again.

"This is Raskolnikov," mumbled Zossimov, nodding towards him. Then he gave a prolonged yawn, opening his mouth as wide as possible. Then he lazily put his hand into his waistcoat-pocket, pulled out a huge gold watch in a round hunter's case, opened it, looked at it and as slowly and lazily proceeded to put it back.

Raskolnikov himself lay without speaking, on his back, gazing persistently, though without understanding, at the stranger. Now that his face was turned away from the strange flower on the paper, it was extremely pale and wore a look of anguish, as though he had just undergone an agonising operation or just been taken from the rack. But the new-comer gradually began to arouse his attention, then his wonder, then suspicion and even alarm. When Zossimov said "This is Raskolnikov" he jumped up quickly, sat on the sofa and with an almost defiant, but weak and breaking, voice articulated:

"Yes, I am Raskolnikov! What do you want?"

The visitor scrutinised him and pronounced impressively:

"Pyotr Petrovitch Luzhin. I believe I have reason to hope that my name is not wholly unknown to you?"

But Raskolnikov, who had expected something quite different, gazed blankly and dreamily at him, making no reply, as though he heard the name of Pyotr Petrovitch for the first time.

"Is it possible that you can up to the present have received no information?" asked Pyotr Petrovitch, somewhat disconcerted.

In reply Raskolnikov sank languidly back on the pillow, put his hands behind his head and gazed at the ceiling. A look of dismay came into Luzhin's face. Zossimov and Razumihin stared at him more inquisitively than ever, and at last he showed unmistakable signs of embarrassment.

"I had presumed and calculated," he faltered, "that a letter posted more than ten days, if not a fortnight ago . . ."

"I say, why are you standing in the doorway?" Razumihin interrupted suddenly. "If you've something to say, sit down. Nastasya and you are so crowded. Nastasya, make room. Here's a chair, thread your way in!"

He moved his chair back from the table, made a little space between the table and his knees, and waited in a rather cramped position for the visitor to "thread his way in." The minute was so chosen that it was impossible to refuse, and the visitor squeezed his way through, hurrying and stumbling. Reaching the chair, he sat down, looking suspiciously at Razumihin.

"No need to be nervous," the latter blurted out. "Rodya has been ill for the last five days and delirious for three, but now he is recovering and has got an appetite. This is his doctor, who has just had a look at him. I am a comrade of Rodya's, like him, formerly a student, and now I am nursing him; so don't you take any notice of us, but go on with your business."

"Thank you. But shall I not disturb the invalid by my presence and conversation?" Pyotr Petrovitch asked of Zossimov.

"N-no," mumbled Zossimov; "you may amuse him." He yawned again.


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